(WCCO/AP) — Joe Biden has chosen California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. It’s a move that fulfills the wish of Democrats clamoring to see a woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket for the first time in history.
I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
The 55-year-old Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving as California’s attorney general.
Harris competed against Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination but left the race before voting began as she struggled to raise money. One of Harris’ standout moments of her presidential campaign came at the expense of Biden, when she slammed his past opposition to school busing.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who withdrew from consideration for the VP slot amid civic unrest following the death of George Floyd while being detained by now-fired Minneapolis Police officers, praised the selection.
“Kamala is a good friend and incredibly strong public servant. Sometimes campaigns can tear friendships apart but we grew closer — and I know she has what it takes to lead side-by-side,” she tweeted. “This is a historic moment, and I know that her leadership, experience, and character will help move our country forward.”
Kamala is a good friend and incredibly strong public servant. Sometimes campaigns can tear friendships apart but we grew closer — and I know she has what it takes to lead side-by-side with @JoeBiden.
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 11, 2020
This will mark the first time since Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro that a Democratic presidential candidate has selected a woman to run on the ticket.
In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.
Harris, who is also Indian American, joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.
Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.
Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)